A national holiday
in the United States commemorating the harvest reaped
by the Plymouth Colony in 1621, after a winter of great
starvation and privation. In that year Gov. William
Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving, and the feast
was shared by all the colonists and the neighboring
Native Americans. Although similar observances were
held locally, they were sporadic and at no set time.
After the American Revolution the first national Thanksgiving
Day, proclaimed by George Washington, was Nov. 26, 1789.
Abraham Lincoln, urged by Sarah J. Hale, revived the
custom in 1863, appointing as the date the last Thursday
of November. In 1939, 1940, and 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt
proclaimed Thanksgiving the third Thursday in November.
When a contradiction arose between Roosevelt's proclamation
and some of those of state governors, Congress passed
a joint resolution in 1941 decreeing that Thanksgiving
should fall on the fourth Thursday of November. The
day is observed by church services and family reunions;
the customary turkey dinner is a reminder of the four
wild turkeys served at the Pilgrims' first thanksgiving
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